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May 1st, 2012
02:41 PM ET

House candidate and rising GOP star is black, female - and Mormon

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - To call Mia Love a minority is an understatement. She’s a black woman who won an upset primary race to become the Republican candidate in Utah’s 4th Congressional District. If elected, she’d be the first black Republican congresswoman in the House of Representatives.

Love, who has attracted lots of national Republican support, also stands out because of her religion: She’s a Mormon. The politician is a poster child for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ campaign to present a more diverse face to a historically very white church.

“There are a lot of people who have tried to define me as a person,” Love, a daughter of Haitian immigrants, told CNN’s Kyra Phillips in an interview Tuesday. “I’m not a victim, and I don’t allow anybody to put me in a box.”

Speaking from Salt Lake City, she said, “There may be some challenges. But ... I love this place and love the people that are here, and I represent their beliefs and values.”

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Love is featured in a video series produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of its “I’m a Mormon” campaign, which aims to bring the faith of about 14 million members worldwide into the mainstream.

In the CNN interview, Love talked about how Mormonism would affect Mitt Romney’s candidacy more than her own, which is happening in the most Mormon state in the nation.

“You know I don’t think those are the issues that Americans really care about,” Love said when asked about the role of Romney’s religion in the presidential campaign. “I think Americans care about jobs, the economy; they care about the debt and deficit spending. … Being a Mormon is part of who he is as a person, and I don’t think it should deter from the issues.”

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Love’s “I’m a Mormon” video shows her working as the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, her current job.

“I am the mayor of Saratoga Springs and I love it,” she says in the video. “I get to make this life better for me and better for others.

“My friends from back home are always saying, ‘What are you doing in Utah?'” she says in the video, referring to her East Coast upbringing. “What they don’t know is that when I came here I felt accepted.”

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Mormonism • Politics • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (2,038 Responses)
  1. Joe from Ohio

    I wonder if she knows she is a token for the party and secretly they despise her.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • D.S.

      Why would you say they despise her? Do you really thing all conservatives must be racists? It is unbelievable that people can actually think that. Shame on you.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  2. Greg Clapton

    Who gives a rats A $$...I'm a Republican and will never vote for a Mormon...EVER!

    May 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • mcp123

      Good for you... I'm a democrat and feel the same way... if the democrat candidate was a mormon I would vote for a third party candidate. Mormons are nothing but a** kissing brown nosing arrogant snobs...

      May 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      I love you both. Bipartisanship is such a beautiful thing.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  3. zip

    Here is your Mormon search list planet Kolob Mark Hofmann multiple wives Mountain Meadows Massacre White Horse Prophecy Parley P. Pratt magic diapers Masonic rituals Educate yourself about the Mormon church. It is a cult.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  4. Sam

    No way, the Republicans will bring her down one way or another, just like they did Cain!

    May 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  5. orlando smith

    Any person of color that embraces a religion(such as Mormanism) with its racist history is either woefully uniformed or brainwashed. Their doctrine declaring people of dark skin cursed(2 Nephi 5:21) and blaming the scriptures is inexcusable and no accident or misunderstanding.Their racist founders and early leaders(including Brigham Young) , espoused this racist doctrine for 150 years, declaring Blacks too inferior for the priesthood. They try to explain it away by the "revelation from God" the leadership received in the 1970's . Had they been listening to God all along they would have known that he is no respecter of persons-no partiality (Acts 10:34)

    May 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Kev

      The selection as to who could hold the Priesthood within the Church doesn't mean that according to LDS beliefs that one group of people were more favored in the sight of God any more than say in the Old Testament that the tribe of Levi were more favored than the rest of the tribes of Israel for having the Priesthood, even though it was the tribes of Judah and Ephraim who actually got to rule. It's not the position that you hold but how you serve is what really counts.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • maxbianco

      ive met african american women who claimed to be in love with nazi skin heads...

      this is no surprise to me

      May 2, 2012 at 4:18 am |
  6. funny

    hopw they make her vice president

    May 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  7. What's good for the goose is good for the gander

    Look y'all, we ain't r.a.c.i.s.t or s.e.x.i.s.t., we have a black on the team and plus a sista! Two for the price of one token! Only room for one though. But you can still vote for us! 🙂

    May 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  8. zip

    Do a Google search on the "White Horse Prophecy" The Mormon church has big plans for America

    May 1, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  9. Stew

    There is so much of vitriol and hate in this thread, makes me sad. No effort to understand others, and a lot of very superficial comments that take bits of information out of context, and sensationalize them. Ignorance mascarading as knowledge. No cultural sensitivity or competence. Reader, beware.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • zip

      The Mormon church is a cult. Pure and simple. And Mitt Romney must not be president.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Bob Loblaw

      @ Stew: Agreed!
      @ Zip: Thanks for proving Stews point

      May 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      The Mormon church is no more a cult than are the various branches of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and a whole bunch of other brainwashing schemes...

      May 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • GetRidOfVenomOnCnn

      Unfortunately, this seems to be the standards for comments on CNN.com. There are some seriously awful comments consistently on this site. However, you will find them the most on political stories and even more so with any religious (e.g. mormon stories).

      Haters gonna hate

      May 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      Mormonism. Christianity. Both power hungry sources of bigotry, intolerance and a threat to actual freedom. Far moreso than a fabricated foreign threat.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • mcp123

      "There are some seriously awful comments consistently on this site"

      Hateful comments? If shoe fits...wear it. The mormon church is a cult... full of nutbag sandwiches. If you'd care to debate this subject we're all ears.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  10. A.A.

    What is really interesting about this piece is how this individual is seen as really "unique" and perhaps an anomaly within the LDS community, seeing as how "Mormonism" is perceived as a white, Utah, American religion. There are more non-English speaking members than English-speaking members and more members of the church outside the United States than inside the U.S. My missionary companion in the Philippines was a native Chinese Australian. All but one of the others were native Filipinas. Tongans make up the bulk of BYU's football team and everyone acknowledges that they and others from the islands are way more "Mormon" than the rest of us. Our BYU valedictorian was a non-Mormon native Indian Sikh (wearing a shiny blue turban for the ceremony) who went on to an Ivey league university back East. This was not seen as abnormal. We were surprised to see him back at BYU within the year because he said he felt so much more at home in the BYU community than he ever did in his graduate studies elsewhere.

    Mia Love very much represents Mormonism because it is truly a global religion that crosses so many social, cultural, racial & economic boundaries. The irony about "The Book of Mormon Musical" message is that Mormonism is such a narrow and restrictive religion that it cannot possibly be applicable outside of white Utah. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    BTW, I was born in Korea and am a Korean-Mexican American who grew up in Colorado and now live in Texas...and I'm a Mormon.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      A.A.,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,

      What does Mormonism have to offer one who is but a lowly closet Christian such as myself?

      May 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Gary

      So, what's your point? That your church just now achieved levels of tolerance and multiculturalism the rest of American society did a generation ago? Most American organizations have non-white members and non-white leaders, and don't think anything of it.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      The carny, Joseph Smith, had never met a Korean or a Mexican, but apparently enough slaves as to have an 'Angel Moroni' and the golden plates moment with the original testament.

      The impending whitewash job in the media is going to be vulgar for all sides.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  11. Jesus

    That's about as rare as a jewish neo-Nazi. Prior to 1978, the Mormon Church viewed blacks as NOT their equal and damned. So this crazy lady joins a group with a history of bigotry toward her people. Amazingly stupid!

    May 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • bumbye

      I was appalled when the CNN reporter said out of the blue"wrong party" on TV. Shameful and totally biased. Ms.Love ignored the comment and said thereafter–it all about the policies one puts forward and Obama's policies are wrong! She kept above the insinuations of race and religious bigotry

      There are a few other shameful comments here anonymously too.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Kev

      Actually you are wrong on that count. The division of labor or service within the church did not nor does not make one group less favorable than the others in the sight of God. Since all peoples have been and still are able to join the church, all are equally welcome.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • OKBecky

      My father joined the LDS Church when he was stationed with the USAF in England. He was in his early 20s. His first calling was to teach the 11-year-old boys who were preparing to receive the Aaronic Priesthood (the lower level) at age 12. He taught two boys, one black, one white. He found it very hard to teach the class, knowing that one of the young men would not be able to receive the Priesthood. But, he had joined the Church because he believed it to be true, and he accepted that the leaders were prophets and called of God. And within that same decade, the priesthood was made open to all worthy males, and my father was overjoyed.

      Fast forward 30 years, and my father tells me he went back to England on a business trip and was able to visit the old ward where he had taught those two boys. The white one had fallen away; the black one had remained active and raised his family in the church, and their friends had also joined. So you tell me.

      As for the belief that blacks or people of darker skins are inferior to whites, that belief was (and is) widespread across human culture. That doesn't make it true, but it does mean that Mormons are not the only group of people to believe that at one time. However, the belief was not doctrine. I don't know why non-whites were not allowed to receive the priesthood until 1978; people have theories, but the LDS general authorities have never come out with an explanation of the long delay. My own two cents: it takes time for bad ideas to die off, and for newer ones to be widely accepted. And there were people who immediately left the LDS Church when that announcement was made – which means those who remained are not the racists. And if there are people who hold racist beliefs (and certainly there are, since people are always converting in), they are not keeping the commandments of the Lord as recorded in scripture, or what the prophet and apostles are teaching. Since Latter-day Saints believe in continuing, modern revelation, that means that we follow what is in the canonized scriptures (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price) AND whatever our current leaders teach. Church leaders are still human, and they have false opinions like everybody else. As Latter-day Saints, we are encouraged and expected to pray to know for ourselves, to gain confirmation from the Lord's Spirit, that what the authorities teach is true. My father also taught me, even when I was a child, that Bruce R. McConkie, who wrote some unflattering stuff about non-whites in "Mormon Doctrine," stood in Conference after the 1978 announcement and said he had obviously been wrong on those points, and he retracted everything not in keeping with the Brethren's announcement. And those entries have not been published in later editions of the book – not as a "white-washing," but simply because they're not "Mormon Doctrine."

      You see the problems that come from misinformation?

      May 2, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  12. carlos

    so???????.....where is this news???

    May 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  13. William Demuth

    I WILL TAKE A SHlT ON YOUR FACE!!!!

    I EAT SHlT FOR BREAKFAST.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  14. zip

    When the truth starts to come out about the Mormon church, not only will Romney not win, but the United States will invade Utah and restore democracy.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Double Standards

      you know Harry Reid is a mormon? And he wasn't even raised as one, he converted with him wife.

      🙂

      May 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • zip

      this doesn't have anything to do with political parties. Reid and Romney are one and the same. Cult members. And how did Mitt Romney avoid serving in Vietnam?

      May 1, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Carml

      Well, it would be a start!

      May 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  15. tastycles

    Good to know that if I ever want to run for office in the future I need to be a paraplegic Jesuit Martian with vitiligo.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  16. drinky

    African American + Republican = Delusional and stupid

    May 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • AGuest9

      No, opportunist.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • goldenmoral

      infiltration > good

      May 1, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • thatbalddude

      And either way > you. Cope with it.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  17. Lenny Pincus

    No one defines her as a person? How about the founder of her church?

    May 1, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  18. Good for you!

    That's awesome. Who would have thought that the potential first black congresswomen would come from Utah? I guess it goes to show that you really can't cookie-cut everyone into stereotypes! Sorry if this disappoints many of you Mormon-hating bigots in this forum.

    May 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Miss information

      Did I understand you to say that she is the first black congress person? Or do you mean the first black congress person from Utah? I'm confused because your post was puzzling.

      May 1, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Topsy Kretz

      Pretty sure she ain't the first.. Pretty sure mormanism is still laughable, at best.. 0/10

      May 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  19. rose

    To Joke : Agree

    May 1, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  20. Joke

    Don't believe anything in a TV ad, from a church or a political party.

    May 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • DFW Dann

      Just those two groups???

      May 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.